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''Lost'': A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Bend

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 30, 2005

How many times can ''Lost'' throw us in a single episode? A lot, apparently.

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Fox Looks at January

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 30, 2005

As was the case with Simon Cowell's rumored departure from ''American Idol,'' talk about Fox moving around telecasts of ''Idol'' proved premature. Cowell is back, as is noted below, and ''Idol'' will remain a Tuesday/Wednesday fixture.

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What I Meant to Say...

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 30, 2005

I had a great time yesterday talking to a class at the University of Akron. The topic was Television & Politics, one I've spoken about before, but one that regularly offers new items for discussion. I went in with a handful of notes, tried to make the presentation more of a conversation than a lecture, found some students were willing to hold up their side of the conversation and realized that time was almost up when there was still plenty to talk about.

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Tuesday Night

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 29, 2005

Odd but relieving to have a lighter than usual schedule (no ''Earl/Office,'' no ''Gilmore'' and I had seen ''House''). The DVR got less of a workout, and I could actually watch one show without wondering if I should be flipping over to something else.

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Rest Easy: Simon Is Back

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 29, 2005

Recent printed speculation wondered if Simon Cowell would be back on ''American Idol'' for the new season in January since he and ''Idol'' mogul Simon Fuller were feuding in court; Cowell wanted to do a show of his own that Fuller claimed was too close in concept to ''Idol.''

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"House'' and Around the House

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 28, 2005

Well, that cold I mentioned is a persistent creature, and one I'm getting very tired of. It's been hanging on today, so after a brief stop at the office, I came home to work. Which proved more difficult since my cable was out for a couple of hours, not only knocking out the TV but also my Internet connection. I've missed chatting here.

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Happy Day After the Day After Thanksgiving

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 26, 2005

Well, aside from the trouble I'm having activating an XM radio (with that ''it only takes one phone call'' on the promo channel mocking me) and the cold I picked up somewhere in the last couple of days, it has been a pretty good holiday weekend so far.

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''Over There'': People Are Talking

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 25, 2005

About a month ago I wrote a post titled ''Bad News for 'Over There' fans,'' about the cancellation of the FX series. It may have had a small audience, but it unquestionably had a passionate one. Comments are still coming in about the show. Go the post, and you can read them.

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''Lost''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 23, 2005

''Lost'' is one of those shows that I watch several different ways, and sometimes I forget that I'm doing it. Tonight I sat, a little uncomfortably, through most of the episode in my move-the-mystery-along mode. There really wasn't a lot of that. And even the promised reunion of the two survivor groups (I keep wanting to call them tribes) did not happen until the final minutes, after a lot of dilly-dallying and flashbacks to determine what Ana Lucia would do to Sayid.

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Happy Thanksgiving (Take a Shovel and Scraper)

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 23, 2005

I doubt this is my last Wednesday post, but I thought I would go ahead and send along the holiday greetings. It already feels like a long day.

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Goodbye, ''Alias''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 23, 2005

My wife is going to have an extra hour of free time in the fall, and the DVR will get a smidge more breathing room. ABC has announced that it will end of ''Alias'' in May 2006.

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''Amazing Race'' Tonight: Aaarrrrgh

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 22, 2005

I was all set to write a post slugged ''Down Go Weavers.'' I have had a bellyful of their hypocritical whining about the way everyone is so mean to them, when they have given other teams nasty nicknames and tried trickery to slow down a competitor. And there was more self-righteous complaining tonight, including one Weaver referring to themselves as the last nice family in the race.

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Department of Blatant Self-Promotion. With a Christmas Theme

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 22, 2005

I have finished my big projects for this holiday weekend, and you should be able to find them in the Beacon Journal (or online at www.ohio.com) as follows.

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Snow/White (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 21, 2005

(Below is what I wrote on Monday after seeing a preview tape of Brittany Snow's ''Nip/Tuck'' episode. TV Tattle on Tuesday posted a link to an interview with Snow that you can find here.)

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''Roseanne'' Reforms

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 21, 2005

You may remember the griping here and elsewhere when the first season of ''Roseanne'' came out on DVD -- and included the edited-for-syndication versions of the episodes instead of the original network cuts.

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Wild Wild Life

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 21, 2005

This was Saturday night at the House of Heldenfels: While my wife ironed, I worked on a newsletter for the arts-booster group at our son's high school. When the ironing was done, we worked together on the newsletter.

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A Very Special ''Beacon TV''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 18, 2005

I recently put my 200th post on this blog. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time. But I should have. If my blog was a TV show, 200 posts would be a TV event.

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Ebert, Oprah! Oprah, Ebert!

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 18, 2005

You may have heard that Oprah Winfrey is crediting Roger Ebert with getting her into TV syndication -- and therefore making Oprah the mighty presence that she is today. The always useful www.tvtattle.com  today has Ebert's description of that meeting, and some background about his acquaintance with Oprah, which you can find here.

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''Where Have I Been?''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 17, 2005

Fans of old-time TV may recognize the title of this post, since it is also the title of Sid Caesar's 1982 autobiography. I thought of it tonight because of my absence from the blog, an absence I didn't particularly enjoy. I have fun with this thing.

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A Temporary Interruption

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 17, 2005

Some technical difficulties this morning and a packed schedule have kept me from filing today. I hope to post sometime this evening.

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''Lost'' Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 16, 2005

Tonight was one of those times when I wished I had this whole season of ''Lost'' to watch at once, whether because I had stored up all the episodes, or had the DVD, or someone made the whole thing available at VOD. Then this would be another chapter in a skein that I could watch unravel instead of a semi-event -- the return of a show after weeks of absence, the resumption of a narrative that had been interrupted, like a book you start on a trip, then leave on the plane and don't get around to resuming until much later.

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Miss America Makes Another Move

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 16, 2005

No longer appealing to the broadcast networks, the Miss America Pageant moved to cable -- specifically CMT. You might have thought that meant the pageant would move to Nashville, in keeping with its heartland foundation. But no. It's going to Las Vegas for a telecast in January 2006.

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''Sexiest Man'': A Movie Guy Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 16, 2005

As I mentioned in a previous post, TV stars have had a tough time being declared People magazine's ''Sexiest Man Alive.'' So it is again, as the 2005 winner is Matthew McConaughey. You can read more about him here, including a profile that makes McConaughey sound very Playboy Playmate-like. An excerpt: ''McConaughey is fluent in Spanish, cites the dictionary as his favorite book ('I love to look up words') and calls his mom, Kay, every Sunday.'' I didn't read far enough to see if it listed his turn-ons and turn-offs.

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Dare We Hope This Means Less Product Placement? Naw...

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 16, 2005

The following arrived in the e-mail today from the broadcast networks. I'll have a few comments after:

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Inside TV Kicked Out

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 15, 2005

Today's mail included the latest issue of Inside TV, the attempt by the company behind TV Guide to make a glossy, celeb-oriented magazine. The cover photos include Jennifer Aniston, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel of ''Gilmore Girls'' and Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as part of a ''Paris Vs Nicole'' piece that dominates the cover.

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''Sexiest Man'' -- Not Many Rabbit Ears

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 14, 2005

Because it's Monday, and I am trying to avoid serious work as much as possible, I have been pondering People magazine's ''Sexiest Man Alive'' list, which is marking its 20th anniversary.

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Schedules and Silences

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 14, 2005

I've been thinking lately about the joys of football without sound, and I'll get to that later in this post. But first, fun with schedules.

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Gearheading

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 13, 2005

Last week I did a column about some of the changes in TV technology, including recent deals by CBS and NBC, which you can find here.

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Saturday into Sunday

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 13, 2005

Saturday was put-some-things-in-order day. The patio furniture is now socked away in the shed for winter, and the snow blower is out of the shed and in the garage, handy for when the weather goes bad. So of course the day gave no hint of being almost mid-November, sunny and pleasant (and it's already 52 degrees on this Sunday morning). A lot of rubbish has been cleared out of the basement, a few leaves have been gathered up -- and I even squeezed in a little television.

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''Threshold''/''Close to Home''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 12, 2005

An e-mail from a reader arrived this morning, asking what had happened to ''Threshold'' on Fridays. Since some of you may also be wondering, it's a CBS shuffle to try out both shows in different time slots. ''Close to Home'' switched to Fridays at 9 p.m. (the ''Threshold'' slot) last night and on Nov. 18. ''Threshold'' will be on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (the ''Close to Home'' slot) on Nov. 22 and 29. (On this coming Tuesday, Nov. 15, CBS will have the CMA awards.

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Tune-In Reminder: ''My Name Is Earl''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 12, 2005

If you haven't watched this NBC comedy starring Jason Lee, tonight would be a good time to do it. NBC is airing four episodes from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern. (Lee is also hosting ''Saturday Night Live'' tonight, although I'm not making any recommendation for that given the subpar quality of ''SNL'' so far this season.)

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''7th Heaven'' Prepares Its Exit

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 11, 2005

''7th Heaven'' has run far longer than anyone would have expected, replenishing its cast several times along the way. But now it's time to go. Here's the official announcement:

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Resentment and Reality TV (With Tonight's ''Survivor'')

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 10, 2005

Bobby Jon finally went down on ''Survivor'' tonight, though not quite the way I expected -- although, as usual, I wondered what the editing was hiding.

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More Trouble for ''Development,'' ''Confidential''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 10, 2005

After bringing back ''Arrested Development'' for a week, and with ''Kitchen Confidential's'' return planned for next week, Fox has again yanked the two comedies.

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Spoiled

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 10, 2005

I like to guess what's going to happen on my favorite TV shows, but I don't really want to know until I see an episode. I like seeing all the turns happen, I like that burst of surprise (as was provided by last night's ''Lost''). So for the most part I try not to know what's happening ahead of time -- staying away from possible spoilers, to be sure, but also trying to avoid promos (which have sometimes given away WAY too much).

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''Lost'' (With Tonight's Episode)

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 9, 2005

Tricky devils, those writers.

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Dis-Approval Ratings

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 9, 2005

It's the day after an election and one that went badly for President Bush and his crowd, and that was a big story today; for awhile it looked even bigger than the hearings with the oil companies. (And am I the only one to find it just the tiniest bit convenient that gas prices were dropping in the days leading up the hearings, and have popped up again now that the exercise is over?) We probably would still be hearing politics were it not for in Jordan, which gave the cable news outlets a fresh reason for big red graphics and split screens.

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''Aeon Flux": Couldn't He Just Say, ''It Looks Better''?

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 9, 2005

The big-screen, live-action version of ''Aeon Flux'' hits theaters in December, so of course the original MTV version has been packaged in a new DVD for release on Nov. 22, in a box declared the ''director's cut,'' no less. A review copy landed on my desk, and here is part of the enclosed note from series creator Peter Chung.

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Tech and tallies, failures and fixes

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 9, 2005

I was standing in line at my polling place on Tuesday night, waiting for a booth to open up. There were a lot of lonnnnnng measures on the ballot, so voting was taking time. Then there was the matter of the paper ballots, which had to be lined up in the voting gizmo, then punched through.

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Stunts

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 7, 2005

In the posting before this, I ranted about the live telecast of ''The West Wing,'' a November sweeps stunt that went awry. Now let me tell you about a couple of others, airing tonight.

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''West Wing'' Live

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 6, 2005

I don't know if tonight's ''West Wing'' is meant to demonstrate the failure of politics, or just the failure of a television drama. Either way, it was disappointing.

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Good Morning

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 6, 2005

Semi-busy day ahead. Several church commitments, grocery shopping, that sort of thing. I hope to file some TV notes later in the day, after I have had a chance to WATCH some television. Yesterday was pretty much overtaken by chores, shopping and a seeing my younger son in his high school's production of ''Dead Man Walking.''  Yes, you read that right.

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''Landscape!''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 4, 2005

My colleague Alan Sepinwall and I were arguing about the current state of reality shows -- he is a little more forgiving at the moment than I am -- and of course, that led to the thought any dissatisfied TV viewer has.

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''Survivor,'' ''The Apprentice''

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 3, 2005

I spent two hours of reality TV dealing with some reality of my own: folding letters and putting labels on envelopes for a church project. That meant I heard about as much TV as I actually watched, and it was fine.

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Buddy Books, Part 1

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 3, 2005

A couple of books landed on my desk recently: ''Tony & Me: A Study of Friendship,'' Jack Klugman's memoir of life with his friend Tony Randall, and EdMcMahon's ''Here's Johnny! My Memories of Johnny Carson, 'The Tonight Show' and 46 Years of Friendship.''

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Two Days, Three Interviews

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 3, 2005

I do actually talk to other people every now and then, and the last couple of days have found me on the phone.

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The unperson

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 3, 2005

You can cease to exist on television in a second. An actress once bagged a scheduled interview with me because, on the day of the interview, her show was put on hiatus. I actually interviewed a producer on the day his show was pulled off the schedule. ''There have been better days,'' he said. Then there was a guy who went on a multi-city tour, complete with TV appearances, to promote his new show, only to see it canceled while he was on the tour.

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How Small a TV Can You Watch?

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 2, 2005

About 50 years ago, a TV critic imagined a world without the small TV screens of his day; instead, he envisioned a future of TV screens that could be adjusted from a few feet across to the size of an entire wall.

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Another CNN Change: Cooper Up, Brown Out (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 2, 2005

A week or two ago, per a reader's question, a CNN rep told me that Anderson Cooper's appearances with Aaron Brown were an experiment. One, apparently, that blew up in Brown's face. Here's an announcement from CNN today:

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Bad News for ''Over There'' Fans

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 1, 2005

2006 UPDATE: Yes, ''Over There'' is still canceled. And thank you to all the readers who have posted comments about the show. You may also want to look at the January posts on this blog, which include one about where ''Over There'' could have gone if it had been picked up for a second season, and who might have killed Lt. Underpants.

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